Current position of the SSV Corwith Cramer. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers.
SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
Bryan Jew, of University of California, San Diego, describes his research in the Tobago Cays as part of SEA Semester’s Caribbean Reef Expedition.
So there I was, done with my first transect for the day. Steph and I finished our sampling early in Rendezvous Bay and instead of doing another as professional scientists would, we decided to explore. The reef in Montserrat was one of the best we’ve seen so far, even better than the Tobago Cays I’d say. The diversity of coral was surprising and exciting to see, as were the fish. Some big sights of the day include a lionfish, two sea turtles, and a big fat barracuda.
So there I was, in 10 ft. waves sailing North in the surprisingly rough waters of the Caribbean Sea. The Cramer was performing all sorts of acrobatics and the gimbled tables in the salon were swinging wildly from side to side. Having just left our 4-day port stop in St. Vincent, most of us hadn’t regained our sea legs yet. We were having a hard enough time focusing on standing watch when, suddenly, a squall hit. Rain, wind, waves – it was chaos.
At 0600 I woke up to the strange feeling of not rolling back and forth in my bunk, the sure sign of anchorage. I sleepily crawled up the salon ladder, bright sunlight briefly obscured my vision of our second anchor point, Montserrat. Known affectionately as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Montserrat is characterized by swooping, green mountain lines; an almost Jurassic view complemented by a looming, active volcano.
Today, well the part of today that was spent awake, has been nothing short of beautiful. A late night on watch calls for sleeping in past breakfast. As I write this blog, I’m sitting on the quarter deck with one rain boot on and one sneaker staring at the mountainous island of Montserrat. The skies are blue and the Caribbean Sea, even bluer. As we approached it earlier this morning, the volcano touching the clouds became detailed hills, hillier, and the bluffs, steeper.
Today we continued our sail to the volcanic island of Montserrat, hopefully arriving tonight to deploy our science equipment off the coast. While waking up at 6 has never been something I’d plan for back home, such is life on the Cramer.
Snorkeling in the Cays has been the highlight of the trip so far. It had by far the greatest variety of fish, and the urchins I’m looking at for my project are almost carpeting some areas.
Yesterday was the Cramer’s self-care day, aka Field Day. On Field Day we clean the ship from top to bottom and my watch was responsible for the galley. Though my shipmates from A house and my friends at home know I love to tidy up, cleaning while the Cramer is underway is a whole different story. After we cleared out all the foodstuffs, pots, dishes, etc. using a fire line of about 15 people up the forward ladder, we got to the good part. The next hour involved Joe, Cassie, Timesha, and I sliding around countertops, across walls, and along floors.
In the morning we picked up anchor outside of Petit Rameau and motored on over to an anchorage outside Canouan to clear customs. After that, we motored away from Canouan and set the sails for the first time in several days – It’s great to be underway again. Not too much is happening now, so let me tell you a tale about science.
Picture this: It’s a beautiful evening in lab, and you’re hard at work taking measurements.
This past week has been an exciting one aboard the Corwith Cramer! We anchored off of Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a beautiful day. The sky was clear and the seas calmer compared to the rough conditions we experienced a few days before. We soon got to come on shore and went about the town peeking into stores and wandering the island. A few of us hiked Fort Hill and were rewarded with spectacular views of the bay and some small islands around Union Island’s southern end.
While at sea, it is tough to find time to do schoolwork, relax, or even sleep; oddly enough it seems as though all 33 aboard, including the seasoned mariners, find plenty of time to slip deep into thought while staring out into the vast expanse of the ocean. Whether it is taking a break from lab work for “sunset appreciation time”, taking a moment to experience the plethora of stars which appear after the moon dips below the horizon, or, for some, desperately trying to not be sea sick, when you walk around deck you can see the gears turning in peoples’ heads.